What “Is” Territorial Cohesion? What Does It “Do”?: Essentialist Versus Pragmatic Approaches to Using Concepts



Abrahams, Gareth ORCID: 0000-0003-0404-1056
(2013) What “Is” Territorial Cohesion? What Does It “Do”?: Essentialist Versus Pragmatic Approaches to Using Concepts. European Planning Studies, 22 (10). 2134 - 2155.

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Abstract

The question, “what is territorial cohesion” has reverberated through European spatial policy since the publication of the European Spatial Development Perspective in 1999. Over the last 10 years, the European Spatial Policy Observation Network (ESPON) has made many efforts to define and measure the concept of “territorial cohesion”. Many such attempts assume that a policy concept must be defined in order to be “operationalized”. Or, in other words, that we must determine what the concept is before we can determine what it can or should do. This paper challenges this assumption in two parts. In the first, I review a number of ESPON projects to show how complex and uncertain these essentialist definitions have become. In the second, I analyse a number of national, regional and local government responses to the 2008 Green paper. I show that, whilst a clear and coherent definition has not been established, this concept is already operationalized in different policy frameworks. Bringing this together, I argue that users of such concepts ought to approach the issue differently, through a pragmatic line of enquiry: one that asks what territorial cohesion does, what it might do and how it might affect what other concepts, practices and materials do.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2016 09:14
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2021 02:10
DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2013.819838
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3004626